1st Edition

The Imbecile’s Guide to Public Philosophy

Edited By Murzban Jal, Jyoti Bawane, Muzaffar Ali Copyright 2022
    254 Pages
    by Routledge India

    254 Pages
    by Routledge India

     This book studies the role of serious philosophizing in everyday life and looks at how authoritarianism negates philosophical and public reason. It sheds light on how philosophy can go beyond its life as a discipline limited to an esoteric group of academia to manifest itself via radical discursive practices in public life which enable us to understand and resolve contemporary socio-political challenges. It studies philosophy as a discipline which deals with one's orientations based on experience, the logic of reasoning, critical thinking, and most of all radical and progressive beliefs.


    The book argues that the contemporary rise of capitalism in modern society, resonating Émile Durkheim’s cautions on "anomie", has favoured individualism, differentiation, marginalization, and exploitation, balanced on an eroding collective consciousness and a steady disintegration of humanity and reason. Taking this into consideration, it discusses how philosophy, both mainstream and marginal, can revive democracy in society which then is able to confront global authoritarianism led by the figure of the imbecile. Finally, it also provides a range of new perspectives on the questions of civic freedom, hegemony of language, social justice, identity, invisible paradigms, gender justice, democracy, multiculturalism, and decolonization.


    This book is an invigorating compilation of essays from diverse disciplines, engaging the need to create a humanistic public philosophy to transcend the state of imbecility. It will be of great interest to students, scholars and researchers of philosophy, contemporary politics, history, and sociology, as well as general readers.

    Introduction  1. Imbecilism and its discontents  2. Public philosophy as critique  3. What could be called the philosophical ‘other’?  4. Redistribution, recognition and participation—Nancy Fraser’s theory of justice in Indian social context: an exploration  5. Contestations that refuse to die: the battle for language as a primary marker of identity  6.  Schooling – The invisible paradigm  7. Decolonizing solidarity & reciprocity  8. Understanding the “other” - a case of Kolkata Marwaris  9. Public-private boundary: conceptual debates on privacy    


    Murzban Jal is professor and director at the Centre for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune, India. He was fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla and Senior Fellow at the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, India. He is the author of twelve books including The Seductions of Karl Marx (2010), (ed.) Zoroastrianism: from Antiquity to the Modern Period (2012), The New Militants (2014), Why We Are Not Hindus (2015), (ed. with Zaheer Ali) What Ails the Indian Muslims (2016), (ed.) Challenges for the Indian Left (2017), In the Name of Marx (2018), Zarathushtra and the Inmates of Paradise (2018), Yusuf and Zuleika: On the Return of the Despot (2019), The Prison House of Alienation (2019),  Theory and Praxis: Reflections on the Colonization of Knowledge (ed. with Jyoti Bawane, 2020), and The Legacy of Karl Marx (2020). He has published extensively in various national and international journals.

    Jyoti Bawane is associate professor at the Centre for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune, India. Her areas of research are teacher education, critical pedagogy, online education, and tribal education. She writes on critical perspective of education, especially relating to teacher education and educational practices. She is a Fulbright Scholar and Erasmus Scholar. She is the author of Ashram Schools: Teacher Context and Challenges (2012) and coeditor of Theory and Praxes: Reflections on the Colonization of Knowledge (2020).

    Muzaffar Ali is assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India. His focus in research and teaching is on social and political philosophy and contemporary Indian philosophy with an emphasis on the idea of the public sphere and its normative implications. He is a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) scholar and has published in international journals of repute such the JICPR, Sophia, Culture and Dialogue, and Journal of World Philosophies.